University Working on Zika Vaccine in Texas

Photo: UTMB Galveston

Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston are trying to find out how to control the spread of the Zika virus, and hope to later develop a vaccine. Their work is a coordinated effort with researchers in other countries, like Brazil, to help further control of the virus.

Brazil’s Ministry of Health, Marcelo Castro, said that plans to develop a vaccine have been started in his country, reported The Lancet, an international general medical journal. The work is planned to start in February and will be done in collaboration with the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, Texas.

UTMB has been reported to be the largest research center for arboviruses vaccines.

Dengue fever, yellow fever, West Nile virus, encephalitis, and the Zika virus, are all part of the non-exhaustive list of arboviruses. The name “arbovirus” is from arthropods, such as mosquitoes and ticks, that transmit these viruses.

Dr. Pedro Vasconcelos of the Instituto Evandro Chagas says that a vaccine for the Zika virus will take three to five years to develop. The doctor is a researcher at the Institute, one of three institutes in that country working on the effort. Vasconcelos and his Institute will be collaborating with UTMB.

The Minister of Health from Brazil is communicating with officials in the United States, such as Sylvia Burwell, the head of the U.S. Department of Health, reported a Brazilian publication. The goal is to bring American experts to Brazil to work with experts there to determine a course of studies in order to create vaccine and drugs against the Zika virus.

Brazilian researcher Pedro Vasconcelos was scheduled to meet with UTMB scientists this week.

Dr. Nikos Vasilakis, another researcher at UTMB told KHOU CBS11 in Houston that the university “is trying to find out how the virus replicates, what it’s pathogeny is in humans, and understand how the virus is transmitted in mosquitoes.” He added, “We need to find a way to control the spread.”

Dr. Vasilakis said he believes the vaccine could be years away so the better course is to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes.

Medical experts in Brazil report that more than 4,000 cases of microcephaly have occurred in the nation, and they are diagnosing 200 cases per week, as reported by Breitbart News. This condition occurs when pregnant women get infected with the virus. Their babies are affected by having an abnormally small head, a congenital condition associated with incomplete brain development, as reported by Breitbart Texas.

Pro-life groups in the United States have denounced the left’s promotion of abortion as a solution to the Zita virus pandemic, reported Breitbart News.

Brazilian Health Minister Castro admitted the Zika outbreak is worse than previous reports made it appear. He says the situation is much worse because eighty percent of the people infected by the virus do not have symptoms, reported by Breitbart News.

Lana Shadwick is a writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2


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